Former Nigerian VP Abubakar Becomes Main Opposition Candidate 

Former Nigerian VP Abubakar Becomes Main Opposition Candidate

By Chuks Emele

Former Nigerian President Atilku’s Abubakar defeated his rivals in the main opposition People’s Democratic Party to emerge its presidential candidate in next year’s elections.

Abubakar, 75, got 371 votes out of the 752 valid votes cast at the PDP’s presidential primaries in the capital, Abuja, on May 28. His closest rival was Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike, with 237 votes and former Senate President Bukola Sarai, who won 70 votes. 

Sokoto state Governor Aminu Tambuwal swung the votes firmly in Abubakar’s favour when he withdrew from the race at the last hour and asked his supporters to vote for the former Vice President, who was also the PDP’s candidate in 2019 elections.

The ruling All Progressives Congress postponed its own primaries to June 6 after the Independent National Electoral Commission gave a seven-day extension to the deadline for the political parties to choose their candidates. Tension is mounting in the party amid speculations that President Muhammadu Buhari may select a consensus candidate for the APC, blunting the ambitions of several influential politicians.

The elections are coming at a time the economy has been battered by inflation and a rapid depreciation in the value of the naira. These have been the direct consequences of the sharp drop in revenue from crude oil, the country’s main export and top foreign-exchange earner.

Worsening poverty across the country has marched hand in hand with increased restiveness, marked by growing cases of kidnap for ransom,  violent communal conflicts and insurgencies.